Choctaw Tales

Choctaw Tales

Choctaw Tales

Choctaw Tales

Synopsis

Including stories from the 1700s to today, Choctaw Tales showcases the mythic, the legendary and supernatural, the prophecies and histories, the animal fables and jokes that make up the rich and lively Choctaw storytelling tradition. The stories display intelligence, artistry, and creativity as Choctaw narrators, past and present, express and struggle with beliefs, values, humor, and life experiences. Photographs of the storytellers complement the text. For sixteen tales, the Choctaw-language version appears in addition to the English translation.

Many of these stories, passed down through generations, address the Choctaw sense of isolation and tension as storytellers confront eternal, historical, and personal questions about the world and its inhabitants. Choctaw Tales, the first book to collect these stories, creates a comprehensive gathering of oral traditions from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Each story brings to life the complex and colorful world of the Choctaw tribe and its legend and lore. The shukha anumpa include tall tales, jokes, and stories of rabbit and turtle and bear. The stories of the elders are populated by spirits that bring warnings and messages to the people. As a whole, these tales provide a spectrum of legend and a glimpse of a vibrant, thriving legacy.

Tom Mould is a professor of folklore at Elon University and is the author of Choctaw Prophecy: A Legacy of the Future.

Excerpt

Choctaw Tales is a book that needed to be written. For centuries, the Choctaw people in Mississippi have retold the age-old stories, keeping alive the history and legends and traditions that have shaped who we are as a tribe and what we value. Like the Tribal elders before them, today's storytellers continue this tradition, telling the old stories and creating new ones to fit a changing world. Part of that changing world is a world of television, computers, the internet, cell phones, airplanes, and books. These modern conveniences are also part of Choctaw life, just like the oral tales still told on front porches, around campfires, and around family dinner tables.

The storytellers are still here with us, but so are new audiences who have become accustomed to reading, not just listening, to learn. Sadly, there are relatively few books about our tribe available to our youth to guide their learning. The history books have tended to either ignore our unique Choctaw culture, including us with other Indians from across the continent who differ greatly from us, or mention us marginally in the context of the story of white America and stop there. Our Choctaw views, our history, our people, have too often been ignored. This book will not remedy this oversight . . .

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